If you are thinking about upgrading your kitchen for your own use or in preparation for selling your home, the best way to do that is to install granite countertops. Granite is popular with homeowners and homebuyers alike for many practical reasons, so installing them for your kitchen countertops is a great way to improve your kitchen’s function and your home’s value.
It is so easy to find granite slabs that will look fabulous in any kitchen, but some people worry that such a high-end material may require a lot of TLC when it comes to maintenance. Generally, granite countertops are very easy to maintain. You might occasionally have problems with staining even if it has a sealer because you let liquid sit on it for a long time. Granite is porous like all naturals stones (with the exception of soapstone) so you need to know how to solve such problems if they occur. Here are some tips that will come in handy.
Note on sealers
Sealers can help keep stains to a minimum by retarding or delaying absorption to give you time to clean any spilled liquid up. They do not totally prevent liquids and any stain-causing agents from seeping into granite. If you do not clean them up or remove them, they might cause a stain anyway.
The best way to keep your sealed granite countertops stain-free is to clean them every day with a soft sponge or cloth and a very mild solution of dish soap and water, rinse them with clean water, and dry with a soft cloth. Blot all spills as soon as they occur.
Removing stains from granite countertops
Stains are a nuisance, but not the end of the world. If you notice one on your beautiful granite countertops, observe the following process.
1. Find out what caused the stain
Before you can successfully remove the stain, you need to know what caused it. This will determine what you need to do to remove it and not make it worse.
2. Clean the surface
What you should have done in the first place you should do now, and that is to clean up any spills on the countertops. Do this as soon as possible to keep the stain from deepening and spreading. Use a clean cloth or a paper towel to BLOT it. Do not swipe at it or rub it, as this can make the stain worse.
3. Read the fine print on cleaning solutions
Commercially available cleaning solutions can come in handy, but some can make the problem worse. You will find a list of acceptable chemicals you can use to remove stains below. Make sure you only use these, and nothing else. You should also use them sparingly and only when nothing else works, as frequent use of these chemicals can damage the surface of the granite.
One of the most common sources of stains for your granite countertops is some type of oil. It may be cooking oil, roast meat drippings, or even butter. You can tell it is an oil stain because it turns the granite dark in the areas where the crime occurred. The stain is not on the surface, but under it, so wiping or rubbing at it is not going to do the trick.
To remove an oil stain, you need to draw it out. A very effective way to do this is to use a baking soda poultice (this also works for many oil-based stains on fabric, so pay attention). To make the poultice, mix a quantity of baking soda with a little water. Add water until you have a thick paste that has the consistency of wet cement. Place a generous amount of the paste on the stain and a little beyond it, and cover it with plastic wrap, taping it down. Let it dry for at least 24 hours before uncovering it. Touch it lightly to make sure the paste is dry. Using an old plastic card or other plastic tool with a straight edge, gently scrape off the dried paste. If some of the stain remains, repeat the process until there is no more stain.
Coffee and fruit stains
Some of your favorite beverages and food such as coffee and fruit can leave unsightly brown spots and rings on top of your granite countertops. You can try a little soap and water to try and rub it out, but chances are something will be left behind. The best way to remove this type of stain is to go out to the drugstore get some 12% hydrogen peroxide. Dampen a soft cloth with the hydrogen peroxide and rub it gently over the stain. It should come off like magic. This should also work with ink stains; just leave it for a few minutes until the ink seems to be dissolving.
Canned food is a great convenience, but they can be a nuisance if you leave a can on the kitchen countertops and it rusts. Other culprits in this stain-producing atrocity are cans of cleaning products, car waxes, and hair products.
In most cases, rust stains stay on the surface, so a bit of baking soda and rubbing with a damp cloth should get them off quickly. If the stains are holding their ground, you may have to give it a bit more attention. Sprinkle the area with a good amount of baking soda and dampen it slightly with some water. Work the damp baking soda into the stain with a cloth or sponge, then rinse it off. It may take you several tries to finally get it off completely, so stick to it.
Cleaning granite countertops with mild dish soap is the best way to keep them in pristine condition, but you must rinse it off well. Soap leaves a thin layer on any surface, and over time, the scum can become too firmly entrenched to remove easily. This leaves your countertops looking sad and dull.
The most efficient way to restore your granite countertops to its former scum-free glory is to spray it with a solution of one cup of water and 1 Tbsp of ammonia. This will lift off the soap scum so you can wipe it off with a clean rag. Your countertops should sparkle afterwards.
Believe it or not, water can also leave some unsightly stains, especially if you live in a hard water area. These are actually deposits of magnesium and calcium, and they are notoriously difficult to remove. Your best bet is to get hold of some 0000-grade steel wool (this is very fine wool specially designed for natural stones) and gently buff the water stains out in a circular motion.
Keeping granite countertops in pristine condition is not hard, so do not let that keep you from enjoying their benefits in your own kitchen. Learn more about granite countertops by getting in touch with Silver Marble Granite.
We are your ONE-STOP SHOP for home improvement, and we specialize in providing you with the best kitchen countertops in Northern Virginia. We service the areas of Washington D.C., Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Fairfax, Chantilly, Herndon, Centreville, among others. You can visit our showroom in Sterling, VA to see the products before you buy.
We work only with the best brands in the business, and can offer better prices and faster turnarounds than big box stores. Aside from granite and marble, we also carry top brands in engineered quartz, including Silestone, MSI, Cambria, and Caesarstone.
Check out our website for some of the best deals in kitchen countertops and other products to make your home a better place. While you’re at it, take advantage of our free quote offer. You will be amazed!